After several years of needing to be fairly selfish with my time and energy in order to train and compete at a high level in triathlon while in medical school, I finally have time to give back and pay it forward. Participating in sports has been an integral part of my life since I was a little girl, and I would not have had many of the wonderful experiences or opportunities I have had, were it not for my participation in athletics. I have traveled across the country for races, and met so many incredible people, including some of my closest friends who are teammates both past and present. Athletics has also provided me with a meaningful identity, self-confidence, and innumerable other life skills that have helped me to be successful on the track, the race course, as well in the classroom and in my clinical rotations as a medical student.
I would love for others to experience the same positive effects that I have experienced in my life as a result of being a competitive athlete in high school and beyond, so I am giving back in a number of ways.
First, I have been helping to coach my old high school cross country and track team. I sent a text message to my coach in July asking if he was still coaching and if I could help out with the team. He said he was, and that it would be great to have me there to help coach. Though I cannot make it to all the practices and meets, I go as often as I can and run with the team and cheer them on at races. It has been so much fun working with the boys and girls, and I have enjoyed working alongside my former high school coach, Aaron Oldfield. After spending many hours standing in the cold, rain, and other inclement weather, I have a new appreciation for his commitment to his athletes. While I was recovering from my neck injury, I missed a portion of the winter track season, and my first day back the kids were so excited to see me again. This made me feel so happy, and it was an indication that I am indeed making an impact in the lives of the high school athletes.
In addition, I am a TriEqual Equally Inspiring Coach for an awesome woman, Katie Rodgers. I am looking forward to helping this mother of two young kids, who has been bringing new triathletes to the sport and helping them attain their goals, pursue some big-time goals of her own this season. I am excited to be a part of Katie’s journey and see her triathlon dreams come true, and have no doubt that this will be a fun and rewarding experience.
Finally, I have the honor and privilege to be serving as a Liv Ambassador for 2016. I am so thrilled to be involved with Liv and the largest group of ambassadors in the brand’s history. I will be leading educational and motivational programming through my local bike shop and sponsor, Sourland Cycles, with the goals of educating women about bikes and getting more ladies to discover the how awesome cycling is for the mind, body, and soul. I hope to help grow and strengthen the local community of female cyclists and I would love to see more women gain a newfound confidence through riding a bike.
It has been beneficial for me to take a step outside of my own athletic endeavors, and play a role in other people’s athletic journey. I feel more fulfilled putting time and energy into other things besides my training and career as a professional triathlete. It also has been very motivating and inspiring to see others putting their heart and soul into achieving their goals.